After a gap of nearly 12 years, the longest since he first played Glasgow's venerable palais de rock, Elvis Costello opened his returning set at the Barrowland Ballroom with a song that first appeared on the B-side of the "Pump It Up" single in 1978, "Big Tears."
It was something of a statement of intent for a show, in the company of regular touring band The Imposters (two of whom have been with him all the way) that was designed for the aficionados. With the band set up in close formation and the most basic of lighting rigs, this was a back-to-basics rock 'n' roll show, led by a much-underrated guitarist from the front on an array of instruments (and pedals) deployed for their sonic possibilities as much as any virtuoso fingering.
Although there were a couple of sings from his most recent studio excursion, Wise Up Ghost, this was mostly a fascinating rifle through the back pages of the Costello catalogue, with enough of his well-known songs and cover versions to keep the less well-versed engaged. The latter included "Watching the Detectives," "Oliver's Army," and "Shipbuilding," which segued into "Alibi" (from When I Was Cruel) in what sounded very much like a nod to Chilcott.
Political chat was minimal though, with the focus firmly on the music. "Moods for Moderns," "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea," and Delivery Man's "Bedlam" were all funky delights, "Sunday's Best" a demented carousel waltz and "Clubland" a Latin-piano-garnished quick step.
"Good Year for the Roses" may have been introduced as the last dance, but it was the closing segue of Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" into "Tramp the Dirt Down" that gave Costello's fans the opportunity to sing at the new Westminster administration.